Opportunities and Challenges of the Role
Susquehanna University is seeking a strategic, visionary leader to be its next dean of the School of the Arts and the School of Humanities. In transitioning to Susquehanna, the dean will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges as shared by university stakeholders in meetings with Spelman Johnson.
Continue to evolve the academic program
The dean will work collaboratively with the provost, president, provost’s council, deans, department heads, and faculty to advance the institution’s academic mission and further develop its academic programs. The dean will be responsible for curricular development and academic innovation to ensure the undergraduate program is well-positioned to maintain and strengthen Susquehanna’s status as a national leader integrating the liberal arts and preparation for professions and careers. The dean will build upon the work that has been done in revising and expanding the central curriculum while creating, supporting, and sustaining an environment of assessment, adaptation, innovation, and continuous improvement. Opportunities exist to leverage program and school distinction while enhancing cross-collaboration and synergy; enhance undergraduate student research; expand formal opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
Inspire, support, and lead each school’s talented and dedicated faculty
To be successful, the dean must build strong rapport with faculty, gain their confidence and trust, and support their ongoing development through strategic decision-making, thoughtful resource allocation, and inspirational leadership. A central responsibility is to recruit, guide, retain, evaluate, and support faculty in their efforts to provide a rigorous educational experience for all students. The dean will attend to the factors that support faculty success, rewarding collaboration and entrepreneurship while recognizing and supporting faculty’s central teaching, mentoring, and advising responsibilities. The dean will promote excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service and establish priorities and plans for robust faculty development and mentorship. The dean will have an opportunity to partner with the new Innovation Center and a new Grants Office director to support faculty innovation and enhance international faculty partnerships with the Global Opportunities program.
Support an environment of inclusive excellence
The dean will intentionally partner with the newly created Division of Inclusion Excellence and the vice president for student life to strengthen Susquehanna’s commitment to supporting a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff, recognizing how the cultural differences of others enhance student and organizational learning. The dean will support academic faculty and staff in effectively working with students from all backgrounds and identities and dedicate time and resources to recruit and retain faculty, which draw from diverse backgrounds. There is an opportunity to bring an equity lens to systems and processes such as faculty evaluation and faculty workload and productivity.
Collaborate with the provost and the president’s senior leadership team
Working in close partnership with the provost, the senior leadership team, and the provost’s council, the dean, will play a pivotal role in achieving the University’s strategic goals and vision of excellence. The dean will ensure the integrity of all academic programs and have a broad influence in shaping the future of teaching and learning. This position requires a talented and experienced academic leader with an open and transparent style, who can effectively exchange ideas and opinions with a broad range of diverse constituencies, manage change compassionately and efficiently, and who can contribute effectively to the overall administration of the institution. The next dean will partner with campus leaders to strengthen and support a dynamic and holistic student experience.
Measures of Success
The dean will work with the provost to determine specific measures of success and their respective timetables. The successful dean will establish a positive relationship with faculty, work with department heads to make fair resourcing decisions, create pathways for faculty collaboration and innovation, identify research and learning opportunities for faculty and students, and advance the University’s standing as a premier National Liberal Arts University.